NewSpace News #116 – January 2015

NewSpace News #116 – January 2015

January 8, 2015 NewSpace News

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Currently, only 3 nations have the capability to send humans to space, and now India is a step closer to joining the ranks of space elites. India has successfully tested its new Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (GSLV-3) and its 3-person crew capsule prototype. The flight was suborbital, and it validated the new first and second stages, aerodynamic models, and re-entry technologies. The cryogenic upper stage is still in development, and a complete flight test is expected to occur in two years. The launch vehicle will also double the upmass capability to four tons to geosynchronous orbit. [Video of launch]
– Article by Space News, Video by SpaceVids, Image by ISRO

NASA is getting nearly $18B in FY2015, which is over $500M more than the president’s requested. Some programs within the NASA budget received less than the request, such as the commercial crew program which received $805M out of $848. However, for commercial crew, this is the largest sum this program has received since its inception in 2011. This substantial amount of funding is crucial for the program which has entered the last phase of development.
– Article and Image by Space News, Article by SpaceFlightNow


The responses to the second round of NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS2) were due in December 2014, and the current delivery providers SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation will be facing competition. Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) have submitted a bid in an attempt to steal the incumbents’ lunch money. Both Boeing and SNC plan to use designs based on their crewed vehicles, the CST-100 and Dream Chaser, respectively. The contracts are scheduled to be awarded in June, and the deliveries will start in 2018.
– Article by Space News, Image by Boeing


MadeInSpace has successfully uplinked the design of a ratchet and printed it in space. The tool was designed, tested, and qualified on Earth, and the file of the design was emailed to the International Space Station for fabrication. It took 4 hours to print, and it will be brought back to Earth along with previous test samples for comparison with corresponding parts that were printed in normal gravity. The technology will help reduce the need for spares and allow astronauts to respond to urgent repairs more quickly.
– Press Release and Image by MadeInSpace


XCOR Aerospace has posted an update on the construction of their Lynx suborbital spacecraft right before the holidays. They have finished the delicate procedure of attaching the carry-through spar onto the rear of the fuselage section, which is responsible for carrying the mechanical load on the wings to the fuselage. Needless to say, we at SFF cannot wait to see the Lynx take flight!
– Update and Image by XCOR

The participants of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program have completed a total of 23 milestones in 2014. Boeing and SpaceX havealso completed the first milestone in NASA’s Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) Program. Both companies described their launch and operational plans and established baseline designs for their respective launch systems, CST-100 and Dragon V2. Over the next few years, SpaceX and Boeing will push their crew systems to the limits, ensuring their capability for safe human travel.Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) continues to deliver on its Commercial Crew Integrated Capability (CCiCap) milestones; most recently, they have completed a major milestone related to the reaction control system.
– Press Releases by NASA and SNC

The Special Purpose INexpensive Satellite (SpinSat) has been deployed from the International Space Station, and onboard this experimental vehicle are a series of Digital Solid Space Propulsion’s (DSSP) Electrically-controlled Solid Propellant (ESP) system. As part of the demonstration, the SpinSat mission will characterize the performance of ESP. DSSP won second-place in the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition (BPC) for its technology behind ESP and its business potential.
– Press Release by DSSP, Article by Satellite Today

Masten Space Systems’ Xombie craft was resurrected in December for a flight test. Originally the second place winner of the Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge in 2009, Xombie served as a base for testing Masten’s new guidance system. The test included a 300 meter diversion followed by soft vertical landing and was entirely successful.
– Tweet by Masten

Orbital Sciences Corporation has released details on their future plans regarding Antares and the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) program. Coming after the unfortunate loss of an Antares rocket in 2014, Orbital’s plan consists of 3 major points. 1) Orbital has contracted with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to complete a resupply mission in the fourth quarter of 2015, using an Atlas V launch system. 2) Orbital has confirmed that they will be accelerating the development of a new propulsion system for Antares. This new system is expected to produce more than 20% added cargo capacity, and the company has confidently scheduled 3 additional CRS missions for 2016 using the new engines. 3) Finally, the Wallops Island spaceport has been assessed for repairs and current predictions call for operational recertification by the end of 2015.
– Press Release by Orbital

Google has recently announced its partnership with the French space agency, Centre National D’├ętudes Spatiales (CNES) on Project Loon and plans to pool resources for development. Google aims to use a large network of balloons to provide high-speed Internet access around the world. CNES has maintained an active balloon launch program for years, and it has technical, regulatory, and diplomatic experience that Google can benefit from. CNES in return can learn from Google’s approach and technology. Speaking of moonshots, Google has recently extended the deadline for their Lunar XPRIZE to the end of 2016. To help start a market in cis-lunar space, GLXP offers a total of $30M in incentives and prizes to the first company to land a privately funded robot on the moon.
– Article by Space News, Press Release by XPRIZE

Building on the success of the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) initiative, NASA has announced its next initiative, the Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities (CCSC). In this unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA), NASA has partnered with ATK Space Systems, Final Frontier Design, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance to advance private sector projects such as space suits and space transportation capabilities. These will lead to commercially available products and services for government and non-government customers.
– Press Release by NASA

NASA has awarded the Virginia Commercial Spaceflight Authority a follow-on contract for the Mid Atlantic Regional Spaceport III (MARS III). The contract has been valued at $49M and will cover an ordering period of 5 years. In the middle of the country in Colorado, Front Range Airport is completing a spaceport application. Once it is submitted, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will have 6 months to evaluate the application. If all goes well, Swiss Space Systems (S3) has stated that their North American headquarters will be housed in Adams County, CO, and S3 is expected to be a major customer at Front Range. Lastly, the Alaska Aerospace Corporation has selected Lockheed Martin Corporation and its Athena rocket as the launch vehicle of choice to deliver small and medium payloads from the Kodiak Launch Complex in Anchorage, AK.
– Press Release by NASA and Lockheed, Article by KUNC

Quick One Liners
  • ExactEarth Expands AIS Satellite Constellation [link]
  • Spaceflight, Inc. to Launch Novawurks’ eXCITe [link]
  • Innovative Antenna Company, Kymeta, $20M in Financing [link]
  • Japanese Microsat, Hodoyoshi-1 Returns First Images [link]
  • DSI Offers Plans for Cubesat Mothership [link]
  • Space Angels Network Partners with Israeli SpaceNest [link]
  • O3b Completes Initial Constellation with Launch of 4 Sats [link]